Relationship Question Answer Advice Column
Shy In Bed
I’m not really a shy person, but, when it comes to sex, I have a really tough time letting go of my inhibitions. I am embarrassed to show that I am enjoying sex, and I’m self-conscious as well. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend of 5 months told me that he feels we have a sexual disconnect. He thinks that I don’t enjoy sex with him because I show no emotion. This is seriously threatening our relationship because he truly feels that he can’t please me and will never be what I need. I haven’t been able to convince him that it isn’t him, it’s me. He is heartbroken about it and this has really hurt him and his self-confidence. I am wildly attracted to him and he just doesn’t believe me when I tell him this. I don’t know what to do or how to fix this. Help!
Shy in Bed
Dear Shy in Bed:
Don’t talk to him about your problems with self-consciousness and inhibitions in bed — he doesn’t want to hear about it. He already knows things aren’t working, so he doesn’t want to hear about it again, and, he doesn’t want to hear about a problem he can’t fix. Women make the mistake of thinking their boyfriends are their girlfriends that they tell everything to. Wrong! Guys don’t want to know everything. If you have a problem, they want to fix it, and if they can’t fix it, they’re going to feel inadequate — so don’t bring it up!
It’s important for you to understand men a little better than you do. Here’s a piece of key information about them that you probably didn’t realize up until now: Men want to feel like they’re giving you sexual pleasure in bed. They want to be your knight in shining armor, and that translates to the guy who rocks your world in the sack! When they do, they feel really, really great about themselves — and they feel great about you! When you’re having a great time in bed with them — they’re the reason for your sexual happiness, and ironically, you’re the reason for theirs. This sexual cycle boosts their self-confidence, and it makes them feel like the relationship is on track. It’s crucial for your to understand the man’s point of view and to remember that he wants to know that you’re loving the sex and that he’s the reason you’re having such a good time, sexually.
In addition, men love sex, and they love women who enjoy sex. If they’re going to choose to be in a relationship that leads to marriage, then they want to know that their monogamous future with you isn’t just about companionship and shared goals — they want to know that the future with you is going to include a great sex life that will last forever. If the sex isn’t good, and together you can’t make it good, it will be a deal breaker for the guy — and that’s what you’re picking up. So, if you can’t show him all that in bed, he’s going to feel badly about himself, about you and about the two of you together.
This means that your feelings of insecurity about yourself having sex and about your body, have to take a back seat to your focus on sex! You need to relax, let go and enjoy yourself, so that he knows you’re enjoying the sex. Figure out what you’re self-conscious about, specifically, and then work on that so you’re not. If you need to lose weight, and that’s making you feel self-conscious, then lose the weight! If you don’t like a body part, understand that he likes your body parts! In fact, he wants more of you, not less. If you need to dim the lights to feel more confident, buy some fabulous candles. If you feel more comfortable in lingerie than completely nude, then get thee to Victoria’s Secret! But do what you need to do to spend more energy enjoying yourself with him in bed.
Waiting Too Long?
I am 37 and have been with the same man for the last 6.5 years. The problem is, I want to have a baby before it’s too late. It’s not a huge desire of his, but he said he would do this for me. The thing is, I want someone who passionately wants the whole process. Am I asking for too much? Time is running out for me, and I don’t know what to do.
Waiting Too Long?
Dear Waiting Too Long,
The reality is you have a certain window of time in which you can have a baby – that is if you want to have one biologically, the old fashioned way. You’ve heard the phrase, “biological clock” before. It’s become a cliche. And the reason it’s become a cliche is because it’s very real. Women are born with a certain number of eggs and a certain window of time to have children, and if they don’t make that a priority — when it’s something that they really want — that ticking biological clock becomes something many of them can actually hear, even though it’s just a metaphor. It’s not a pleasant metaphor because it makes most people anxious because it let’s you know you’re running out of time. In other words, you’re losing something (the ability to have children biologically) and if you want to keep it, you have to act. Obviously, the way to avoid this is to plan more carefully and find out very early on in the dating process if the man you’re beginning to see is compatible with you — in other words, if he wants what you want in the same time frame and with the same priority weight that you have. But let’s take it from today, since that’s where we are. You’re 37, and your clock is ticking, and you’re running up against time. (Of course, there are lots of different ways to have babies now — and adoption doesn’t require you to stick to the same timeframe that biology does, but you have another problem, besides your fertility…. And that’s your relationship and shared goals.)
The guy you’re with doesn’t really want what you want — he’s not giving you the commitment you’re looking for, and that’s why you’re writing me. He’s not saying no — but he’s lukewarm at best, and you understand what a huge commitment pregnancy, childbirth, and family entail. Your instincts are telling you that you want someone who’s just as passionate about marriage and family as you are so that you can feel confident that your man is all in and this family you want to start is being started on a solid foundation. The problem is, he’s not giving that to you. Deep down, you’re afraid that he just isn’t into having a family, and you know that children change relationships. The two of you are one thing, but the two of you with one, two or three little ones running around, are completely different lives. If your guy isn’t as into family as you are, after over six years together, it’s time to find someone who is. You’ll be much happier if you have a man who wants what you want, so you’re doing this together, for both of you.
It’s hard to break up with someone who has a lot about him that you like — but you have to know your deal breakers, and if he’s not compatible with what’s really important to you in your life, you’re going to waste even more of your precious time — to say nothing of his. Recognize what you want in life, and find a man who wants what you want, too! And because of that very real biological clock, date smart so you both get what you want.
Does He Like Me?
I am 47 years old. One would think that I would be able to figure these relationship type situations out by now! Truth is, I feel like a schoolgirl again with a crush on a boy and I don’t have a clue if he likes me or not. Well…I know he likes me…I am just not sure in what capacity he likes me. We’ve been out on several group dates. I have invited him to go with our mutual friends to dinner, but, we have never been out together on a one on one date. I have visited him in his home, and he is always happy to see me. Once, I stopped by his house unannounced to see if he wanted to go to dinner with us and he had already eaten….but he offered to come with us and have a dessert. So when we went to leave, he picked up the check for all of us…my girlfriend too. When we are at mutual parties, he will hang out with me nearly the entire time. The other day he questioned me about my roommate. My roomie is a guy… a totally platonic friendship… but I thought it was interesting that he was concerned about it…enough to ask. John has never been married and has no children. Our mutual friends always comment to me, about how John and I seem to have chemistry and our conversation flows for hours. I like him a lot….but he has never asked me out….so I question his attraction to me. What do you think? Am I just grasping at straws here?
Does He Like Me?
Dear Does He Like Me:
Very quickly, I can tell you that your having a male roommate is a turnoff. I know that you say he’s platonic, and there’s nothing between the two of you, but turn the tables for a minute. If you were interested in a man, and he had a female roommate, you’d be wary about getting involved — even if he told you they were just friends, and you’d be right to feel wary. Men and women can’t be friends because one person always feels differently about the other. There is always some percentage of attraction — and you may not feel it, but the roommate may. This can make dating you more complicated than you realize. I know you think this guy is just like a brother, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s interested in you. He’s looking at you, and seeing there’s this guy you’re living with and wondering about your history together with this guy, your availability to him if he comes over to visit you and this guy is there, and this other guy’s feelings about you (regardless of yours about him!). You probably never thought of this before, but it’s time, now!
This guy you’re interested in doesn’t want to get involved with someone who’s living with a man — whether it’s you or some other woman. And even if things don’t work out with this particular guy you like, this situation is a turnoff for any other future guys who would normally be interested, too. And anyone who doesn’t know you very well, and might be thinking of getting to know you or asking you out, may think you’re involved and may not even bother to consider you further. There’s no question about it: having a male roommate sends the wrong signal. Once you get rid of the male roommate, you’ll have a much better idea if this guy is interested in dating you.
The second tip I have for you is to not be so available. When you’re not available, you’re going to have a much clearer picture of his intentions. It’s nice that you want to include him in group dates and as another party at dinners with your friends, but when you’re the one to invite him out, even in a group, you don’t get the opportunity to learn if he’d ask you out otherwise — and you take away the opportunity for him to ask you out. He can’t miss you or desire you if you’re always there. The only way you’re going to know if he wants to date you is to not be so forthcoming in inviting him places, so that you’ll know if he’s doing the asking or not. You’ll also be less confused about where you stand — and where he stands. You may, however, be disappointed if you stop inviting him and then he doesn’t ask you out, but it’s absolutely worth the risk to know. At least that way, you know not to waste your time on someone who’s not into you. And if he does ask you out, because you stopped inviting him to go out, the dynamic of the relationship changes from friendship to dating!
Love My Boyfriend, But His Teenager, Not So Much
I have been seeing a wonderful man for 17 months and we both love each other very much, in fact what we have is close to perfect. The problem is his 14 year old daughter. She would have to be the most selfish, attention seeking person I have ever met and has no regard for anyone else’s feelings when it comes to getting what she wants. Whenever something upsets her she blackmails her father by saying she isn’t going to visit him anymore. Recently, she pulled this stunt again but directly said it was because of me. My partner was put in the position where he had to make a choice and we all know that as a parent we put our kids first and I understand that. He ended up talking her around & she admitted she was wrong BUT I had seen the look in his eyes that he was worried that we were going to have to part if it came to that.
What I need advice on is do I stay in this relationship? This girl will always have the power & she knows it. I will spend the rest of my life with an axe hanging over my head because she can end her father’s & mine relationship whenever she pleases. It seems like it doesn’t matter how much we love each other, how good it is, how much we have to lose…it could all be over in an instant if she says it is.
Dear Confused Heart:
Dating a single parent is a lot harder than dating a parent without kids, and you’re seeing why from a front row seat! Teenagers are difficult and unreasonable and manipulative, naturally. Your boyfriend’s daughter is not acting abnormally. That’s the good news — and the bad news. The important thing to remember when parenting teenagers is that they need, and they actually want, boundaries. They are in between childhood and adulthood and they are testing the limits of both — which is why it is the parent’s job to show them right and wrong by imposing boundaries that put the teenager back on track, and re-define the relationship. If he doesn’t do this, then she’s got the power, and the relationship becomes redefined by default — she’s in charge, he’s the pawn. This isn’t healthy for anyone. And guess what? Teenagers THINK they want the power, but they really don’t. Too much power is actually scary for a teenager. Think about it. Can you imagine a world where teenagers were in charge? In fact, there is a reason teenagers aren’t legally allowed to have certain rights that adults, only a few years older, do. And you don’t see teenagers protesting these laws en masse. Because (shhhh!) they don’t want the power. They want to be parented. But that’s a secret they won’t tell you. You have to figure it out yourself.
Parenting teenagers isn’t always graceful or easy because teenagers are full of hormones that make them emotional and sometimes irrational, and many parents fear confronting their kids’ emotions. Divorced parents, in particular, fear upsetting their kids because they don’t want to lose a kid (to the other parent who happens to be their ex), who storms off crying to the other parent’s house where life is easier for them. And the dark side of custody and divorce is that parents tend to alienate their kids against the other parent in order to get more custody time — and more child support. In other words, kids become pawns in divorce wars, and your boyfriend is probably all too aware of this.
All that said, your boyfriend is parenting out of self-interest and fear, afraid he’ll lose custody time with his daughter, and if he does, his child support payments may increase — instead of doing the right thing by her, which is teaching her right and wrong and imposing loving but firm boundaries that she actually wants deep down. Instead, he’s caving. He’s getting short term gratification in exchange for not giving her the life lessons and family structure she needs and deserves. Believe me, she’s going to use the bad lesson she’s learned from him over and over whenever she doesn’t like something, whether it’s a curfew, allowance, rules about getting a summer job, doing homework, etc. She’ll be back in his face with the same manipulative behavior on issue after issue after issue. And…. she will take these lessons with her into her own adult relationships, guaranteeing she’ll fail at them.
If he does the right thing, he’s taking a risk — in his mind. But even if a teen storms off for a while, to the other parent’s home, she will come back. Maybe not right away, and maybe it will take a year. But, she will figure it out. And she does love her father and will miss seeing him, and she won’t want to be separated from him. But it’s hard on him. And it’s harder on her when he doesn’t step up.
As for you…. and I’m sorry to leave you last, but this is really about his daughter and what he’s doing to her by allowing her to manipulate his relationship with you — this will be a deal breaker. I know you’re just seeing the beginning of this behavior because she’s a new teen, but it’s not going to get better unless he parents better. And it’s going to affect his relationship with any woman he’s with, whether it’s you or someone else.
His Ex-Wife Haunts Me
My boyfriend of almost a year is just about divorced. He is waiting for the judge to finalize the decree. As we have become closer he has opened up about his past relationship with his wife: they were together 8 years. He describes her as an alcoholic, who turns into a nasty, violent person when she’s drunk, and always wants to be with her friends acting like she’s a teenager. She suddenly lost interest in their marriage and started doing her own thing, and he even thought that she might have been seeing someone. He finally had enough and moved out. The way he talks about it, I can tell that he really loved her and was very heartbroken. Now, anything he says is negative. When I asked him if he still had feelings for her he said, “Its like having a loved one die — it gets easier as time goes by.” Will he ever be able to let her go? If we continue with our relationship, I want to be the one that he wants to be with and loves, and if she were to ever change and get her act together, that she wouldn’t even be a thought to him. Is this possible? Will he ever get over his ex.
His Ex-Wife Haunts Me
Dear His Ex-Wife Haunts Me:
You’re asking good questions. Not everybody gets over an ex-wife, an ex-husband or an ex-lover the same way or in the same amount of time. Not only is everyone different, but everyone’s process for getting over an ex is different. Usually, it’s expected that the person who leaves a marriage or does the dumping in a dating relationship is the one who gets over the break up first. They left — they wanted the break up — they should be happy, right? But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the one to leave a marriage or a long-term relationship first does so impulsively and later, after time has passed or he or she sees the ex recovering a little more gracefully than expected, has second thoughts. Sometimes those second thoughts are regrets. Or, other times, when the strain of the marriage is off the relationship, after a break up or a divorce, the one who left the marriage first, begins to see the ex as the person they first dated, instead of the spouse they couldn’t live with and couldn’t wait to divorce. But even when someone is very happy that the divorce is behind them, it’s guaranteed that most people have mixed feelings leaving a marriage. This is normal. It doesn’t mean he’s going to go running back to his ex-wife, have ex-sex, or pine for his ex forever, but it does mean that this situation, like most of life, is not black and white.
His speaking negatively about his ex is a way to distance himself from the love he once felt for her. It also helps him to process his feelings and to remove blame or responsibility from himself for the divorce and the failed marriage. In other words, while it’s not pleasant, it’s often part of the process of moving on. If you understand this, and try not to pass judgement, you’ll have an easier time with it. However, if this is too much for you to do, or his trash talk becomes incessant and vitriolic, you do have a right to speak up and explain that this is hard for you to hear because, it upsets you and it takes you away from your feelings about the two of you and makes you think about his failed marriage instead. Do this in a way that is kind and understand, but clear. However, if you can be an ear for him, you’ll grow closer and you’ll help him heal. The trash talk will, with time, dissipate and disappear.
All that said, it doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is in love with his soon to be ex-wife. But remember, he once was, and a failed marriage doesn’t go away with the signature of a judge on a divorce declaration. It takes time. It’s different than dating someone who’s never been married before, and just as it takes time for him to distance himself from his marriage to his ex, it also takes time for him to build a relationship and a future with you. The more you focus on the two of you, the more his relationship with his ex-wife will fade into the background and the relationship he has with you will take center stage.
How Do I Distance Myself?
I was dating this guy about a year ago. We dated very briefly then sort of just became friends with benefits. The last time I saw him he said something so outrageously hurtful I just left, determined not to have contact with him anymore. A few days later I changed my number for reasons unrelated to him but took it as an opportunity to have a clean break. But, during the course of the year a lot happened, and I saw him at a party and agreed to exchange numbers. I made it clear that I only wanted a friendship because I was being cautious but admittedly I was interested in more. He claimed that being just friends wasn’t something he thought he could do. I admit, I hoped that meant something was about to happen. Fast forward about 3 months and nothing has happened except he sends me mixed signals. I do really care about the guy and I keep thinking about how love is supposed to be patient and about giving rather than getting, then I’m jerked back to reality and I figure he probably doesn’t mean any of the good he says and I just want him away from me. How do I get him totally away and keep away myself? I am weak and I need someone to jerk, jolt and shake some sense into me!
I Need Distance
Dear I Need Distance:
You’re blaming him for your own lack of direction when it comes to dating. That’s the big problem here — but don’t beat yourself up over this — you’re not alone. Most people point the finger elsewhere because it’s a lot easier to do than to take responsibility, roll up your sleeves, and figure out where you went wrong and what you can do differently to change your own life. But to get out of this challenge, you have to stop looking at him, now, and start looking in the mirror, instead. You have to focus on what YOU want, and then decide to get it.
Know what you want in a relationship — that’s a lot harder to do than to talk about, but it’s crucial for your dating success. When you do know what you want, you can then figure out pretty quickly if he’s someone who is going to give you that and who is going to be compatible with you. When you stay with someone who isn’t going to give you what you want, or who isn’t compatible with you, you’re going to do one of two things: a) Get angry at him or b) Figure out why you’re staying. Usually, women stay with Mr. Wrong because they don’t want to be alone and would rather waste their time with someone who’s never going to be Mr. Right to avoid being single, or because they haven’t done the work to figure out what they want, and they’re gong to do it while they date. This wastes time. So, if you know on the first, second, third or fourth date that this is someone who’s never going to be your Mr. Right, recognize that continuing to date him is your a bad investment of your time.
When you come to that conclusion, telling him you want a friendship is leading him on — and it’s leading yourself on. If you’re honest, what you know you really want, a serious, romantic relationship, not a friendship — anything less with a man is dishonest. Know yourself, first and foremost, and stay true to who you are and what you want. Women befriend men after a break up because they think it’s kind. They don’t realize that breaking up with someone who isn’t Mr. Right is actually a gift that sends that guy in the right direction — away from a relationship that isn’t working, and into the dating world where he may find someone who’s right for him. Worse, keeping a guy you’ve rejected, around as a friend can lead to a friends with benefits relationship, that women then try to leverage into a romantic, monogamous relationship. It never works. If you don’t want a particular guy in your life, then simply don’t respond to him. It’s that simple — or that difficult, if you have self-discipline and focus issues. And if self-discipline is something you need to work on, don’t waste another day ignoring that issue! Seize the day and remember: You’re your own compass in life. Know your desired destination and stay clear on your direction.
What Does Taking It Slow Mean?
I have been with my boyfriend for over 13 years. Recently he left and said he didn’t know if he wanted to be with me any more. A few weeks passed and I said I want to be together in any way we can and he said, “I want to take it slow and be together eventually.” I don’t really understand what take it slow means. He hasn’t lived at home for 2 months now, although he hasn’t taken any of his things. We have a kid who misses him dearly. When I say I love you he doesn’t answer back. It’s painful and I feel like I don’t know where I stand. I’m in so much pain. He’s also changed a lot, his personality and his appearance. He seems to act young and selfish. It’s like he’s having a midlife crisis or wants to be young again and single. He hasn’t really spent a good amount of time with his child in the last year. What do I do to fix this? He has been under a lot of stress. He has a lot of financial problems and other problems, no employment right now. How do I handle this so we can get back together and he be like before. How do I go slow?
Taking It Slow But Not By Choice
Dear Taking It Slow,
When a man tells you he wants to “go slow” it may mean that he’s getting out of a long term relationship and wants to make sure he isn’t rebounding with you. Or, it may mean he doesn’t trust his judgment and wants to spend time getting to know you to make sure you’re “the one” before committing. Or it can mean that he’s not making any promises and doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea because he thinks that you’re much more into him than he’s into you. All this would be understandable — IF you had just met him and were newly dating. But after 13 years and 1 child together, going slow is what you already have been doing for more than a decade, and the fact that he’s now telling you that he wants to take it slow is merely his way of trying to let you down easily. What he means to say is, “I’m not making any promises that we’ll get back together again,” and by moving out, he’s letting you know without words that he wants to play the field, date other women, and see what else is out there. Bottom line: He is separating from you, and this is the most graceful way he knows how to do it. It’s not what you want, but it’s what he wants and it’s what he’s doing and he’s doing it this way because he doesn’t want to hurt you more than he knows he already is, by being frank. Sometimes people make breaks in relationships using the tools they have, even when they’re not such great tools. I know you don’t want the separation, but you can’t change him or his behavior. The only thing you can do is change yourself.
So what can you do? In terms of keeping the relationship, if you haven’t been bringing your A game, then there’s a chance that he’s leaving because you’ve let yourself go, and he doesn’t feel good about himself in a relationship with a woman who’s haggard and not on top of her game. Instead of judging (him, me, or yourself!), consider that this might be true. It’s easy for women to get into this rut and it happens frequently, but the reality is that if you have focused more on your child and less on your relationship, it’s possible that your man feels neglected and he very well may be. Most men leave because they don’t like the way they feel when they’re with a woman — and they gravitate towards women who make them feel good about themselves. So if you can make him feel better about himself with you, and you get the chance, do it!
However, if he’s leaving you because he just can’t get his act together, and the way he feels about himself has nothing to do with you, and has more to do with his unemployment and other stress in his life that you’re just not a part of, and he thinks that being in the relationship with you is keeping him from doing better for himself,(whether or not he’s right) then there’s not a lot you can do except to be the best single mother you know how to be.
No More Sex
I’ve been married for 10 years and in the last 4 my husband stopped having sex or any type of intimacy and we now sleep in separate bedrooms. I love him but I feel that part of our life is over. He is the one who is no longer interested as he has E.D. (erectile dysfunction). I feel so cheated out of a healthy sex life. Recently I ran into a male friend who is in the exact same situation and would like to pursue a sex-only relationship. I am torn. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to deceive my husband and I have openly told him I am craving sex. Any advice out there? I’ve never cheated and I never imagined my marriage being like this.
No More Sex In My Marriage
Dear No More Sex,
If you think you can have a sex-only relationship outside of your marriage, and that that will keep your sexless marriage intact, you’re mistaken. Here’s one reason why: When women have sex, they develop feelings for the man, and if you start an extramarital sexual relationship that you think is going to be sex only — buckle up for a bumpy road ahead, because you will develop feelings for this other guy. Here’s reason number two: This other guy who you want to have sex with outside of your marriage, is married, himself. Even if he is able to sustain his sex-only relationship with you, if his wife finds out, I guarantee she’s not going to go for the fact that he loves her, but wants sex with you, and that you love your husband but just want sex with him. We’re talking major chaos. This isn’t going to work the way you’re hoping, and you know it. Having an affair to patch up a problem in the marriage isn’t going to fix things. It will complicate them.
The real problem here is between you and your husband. When a man has erectile dysfunction, it doesn’t mean your sex life together has to be over. There are things you can do to help the situation. For instance: It would be a good idea for your husband to get a full physical with his doctor to see if there’s something physically wrong that can be corrected, or if the problems he’s having are a symptom of something else, like a new medication. Let a professional work with the two of you. There are also prescriptions for men with this issue that are intended to support your sex life, and if your husband is willing to try them with his physician’s care, that might very well help! And, there are things your loving husband can do for you that don’t involve intercourse, but that are sexual. Remember that if your husband really has erectile dysfunction, he’s probably depressed about it. So if the two of you can deal with this issue as a marital issue, not just his problem, he’s going to feel a lot more optimistic about life, the marriage, himself, and you.
So, start talking to your husband about what the two of you can do together to make your marriage better — and that includes your sex life. You can also start by cutting out the two bedroom situation, as of tonight. Just crawl into bed with him. Cuddling and sleeping together in the same bed in the same room is an important first step towards reestablishing intimacy. Next, spend time together on romantic dates that don’t necessarily include sex, but that do promote intimacy and affection. Spending time together, like sleeping in the same bed (and bedroom), paves the way for sex. So get back to the things that support your sex life together, and don’t shy away from problems — instead, face them together as a team, and you’ll be back in your marriage and moving towards a better sex life, not away from it.
I Cheated And Can’t Fix It
I live with my boyfriend of 5 years. We have raised my 4 year old daughter from an affair, and are about to have a child of our own. I am 7 months pregnant, but when I was 5 months along I cheated. He found out through an email conversation between myself and the man I had an affair with. I’m ashamed and flooded with guilt. We fought for two days; he doesn’t say I love you anymore; there is hardly any passion, and he keeps saying that he doesn’t know if he can trust me again.
I cheated because we got into swinging with other girls. Guys were not allowed, per him. Also, he started playing video games and spent more time on them than with me. I begged for attention, and he begged me to play his games. I was so frustrated, that I looked elsewhere. I really wish I hadn’t. Now, he has been thinking of inviting a girl over while I am home and possibly having me stay in another room while he has sex with her in our bed. He said that would be his way of getting revenge.
I have tried to do everything right since I cheated. I don’t delete my emails, I let him look through my email, phone, and Facebook. I want things back to the way they were before, I want to hear him say I love you again, I want the passion back, I want the trust back, I want to go one day without crying. I am so determined to fix it, but he acts like he doesn’t want to.
I Cheated And Can’t Fix It
Dear I Cheated And Can’t Fix It,
I know that you want the trust back, and although it may not seem like it, I guarantee you that he does, too. He’s furious at you, and he feels trapped because you’re going to be parents together, and the dream he had for the four of you as a family is shattered, but the real reason he’s so angry is that he wants things to be different than they are, and he can’t seem to make them different. Neither can you. So, he’s angry and mistrustful. We all want certain things — but getting them takes work, and frankly, we don’t always get everything we want, when we want it, if at all. When it comes to wanting trust, that’s not something you buy or you demand and get, automatically; that has to be earned and in your case, that is going to take time. If you are willing to invest the time to continue doing what you’re doing, then that’s all you can do. But you have to be very, very patient. You can’t make any person trust you, as much as you want to. You have to show him that you’re trustworthy, and you have to do so until he is ready to feel that you are, and he is the only person who will be able to do that. It won’t happen as quickly as you want it to, if at all, and it probably won’t even be in the time frame you want. You don’t have control over him or his feelings — but you do have control over yourself and over your own behavior. If you remember that, you’ll feel less frustrated.
The real problem here, as hard as this will be to believe, isn’t the cheating. That’s probably surprising to you, but it’s true. Cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a result, or a symptom, of a bigger problem. Like when you sneeze — sneezing isn’t your problem. Your problem is the cold germs, or the allergies or the dusty room you’re in that are causing you to sneeze. Well, the same is true with cheating. There are problems in your relationship that caused your cheating. One of them is a surefire way to break up relationships, and that’s swinging, threesomes and inviting others into the bedroom. Whenever someone writes me about introducing a third party into a relationship for sex — usually, it’s consensual — it always ends with the demise of the relationship, without fail. Because you have a relationship with this guy that includes threesomes, you’re in a relationship that is doomed. So, unless you’re willing and he’s willing to make the relationship about the two of you only, this isn’t going to work — if you get the chance to give it another try.
Your loneliness in the relationship is one of the bigger problems. When you’re lonely, chances are he knows it, and men don’t want to be with women who are unhappy. They want their women to be happy, and if they see a problem, they want to fix it. So when you told him you wanted attention and he invited you to do something with him that he likes — playing video games — that was a good sign. That was him trying to fix the relationship. But when you refused to, you rejected him. This doesn’t make a guy feel great about you, the relationship or himself. If you get another shot at this relationship, you should agree and join in! If your man likes golfing, then golf! If he likes video games, than grab a control! This is something you can do for him that gives you the time together and will make you feel less lonely, while showing him that you’re compromising and playing the games he likes with him. Remember, relationships are about compromise, as well as building experiences together. So ask him what he’d like to do, and then whatever he says, do it!
Lastly, there’s a maturity problem here, since this is your second affair — the one that produced your daughter with another man is the first one. When you get lonely, bored or
angry, you have to find a different way to express your feelings, other than cheating. Cheating is risky, and it destroys intimacy and entire relationships. It also sounds like you acted impulsively, without thinking of the consequences, which you now regret. Sadly, you’re learning a hard lesson about this, but if it’s the one lesson that stops you from cheating again, and makes you commit to a better relationship in your future, then it will have been worth it.
Is My Husband A Sex Addict?
We have been married 20, and even though we’re both only 41 my hubby needs Viagra. Recently he ordered 24 of these pills and even though we have only used about 5 of them together, after three months, there are only 3 of them left. Apparently he is using them for himself. I don’t even know how to react to that. I know men take care of themselves quite regularly but this is really beginning to bother me. Does he have a problem?
Is My Husband A Sex Addict?
Dear Is My Husband A Sex Addict,
It doesn’t appear from what you’ve written that he has a sexual addiction. Sexual addictions are usually defined by people having sex so often, and without regard for the consequences of their behavior, so much so that it interferes with their normal lives. From what you’ve written, your husband is having a relatively normal life, and sex isn’t impeding it in any way. But it does sound like you haven’t talked to him about what’s bothering you, and that’s the heart of the problem.
Even though you’re the one who hasn’t approached him, you’re feeling shut out. You’re not complaining about a lack of sex between the two of you, so I think it’s fair to say that your sex life is good as far as you’re concerned, and you’re not indicating that he’s cheating on you, so loyalty in your marriage is intact — but there is a communication problem between you and your husband, and it’s on one subject: sex. But, ironically, this problem isn’t about sex — it’s about communication.
Clearly, you have to break the ice and talk to him, but when you do, it’s very important that you don’t corner him, put him on the defensive or make him feel ashamed. Talking about sex can be touchy, so remember that the goal here is to open the channel of communication and get closer to him, not make him feel uncomfortable and unwilling to talk. You have to make it clear that what’s happened isn’t so much a problem of him using the Viagra — it’s his using the Viagra without you. You feel excluded from a part of his life that you want to be a part of, and this makes you feel distanced from him and the marriage. You’re confused about your feelings because he’s not really cheating on you with someone else, which would be easier to understand, although more hurtful, and this feeling of exclusion isn’t something you’re used to, and because it has to do with sex, there’s a bit of a tabu about it.
Sex in marriage, or sex in a monogamous relationship over a long period of time, isn’t just about being physical together. It’s about sharing secrets, fantasies, experimentation and being open and honest. In other words, sex in a long term marriage is about intimacy. That intimacy includes letting each other know about your sex life that’s together and apart (even if it’s solo). For some couples solo sex is private and not shared in any way. For others, it’s shared in every way. Either way, it doesn’t make a marriage better or worse if you’re a private couple or a sharing couple, but the compatibility does matter. Every couple has it’s own measure of comfort in knowing about solo sex, and it sounds like this isn’t something the two of you have discussed or shared before — but now is the time, because it’s bothering you, and he hasn’t indicated he is closed to opening up to you about this. In fact, he may be relieved that you’re going to talk to him about this subject. He may have decided it was off limits, without checking in with you about it, and your being open to it will bring greater intimacy to your relationship with your husband.
When you do, discuss it in a manner that’s jokingly inclusive and light hearted — and not in a way that puts your husband on the defense, makes him feel ashamed, or creates more of a barrier in this intimacy. This shouldn’t be a heavy talk. For instance, with a smile on your face, you can mention that there sure aren’t many of those pills left — and while you appreciate him giving you a break, you halfway hope he’s using them alone and not with someone else — and then laugh and be affectionate with him, so he knows you’re forging new ground here that initiates intimacy through honesty without shame. I know it’s trickier said than done, but you seem like you’re capable of this, and your relationship will be stronger for your willingness to forge new ground in intimacy with him.
I Lied About My Age
I met a wonderful man after years of jerks. He’s mature and successful. Our chemistry was magnetic and we had a strong physical and mental attraction. He bragged about me being a good catch and he always mentioned how intelligent and attractive I was. The problem is that I was dishonest about my age. We dated for 3 months before he found out that I was 9 years older than I said I was (I’m 39.) Now that he found out that I deceived him about my age, he refuses to talk to me. He said that he needs space to think about everything. It’s been two weeks and I’ve only received one text from him stating that there was a lot going through his head and he needed time to get his thoughts together. I’m scared that I messed up a wonderful relationship. I’m not even sure if he’ll ever speak to me again. I love him and have expressed my deepest feelings on the matter and have explained why I lied about my age. What should I do? What advice do you have for me?
I Lied About My Age
Dear I Lied About My Age,
Women have been lying about their age for a long time, now. They used to lie about their age because it was considered an asset to be youthful, and if they weren’t, they might as well appear as if they were! Some women who were older than their husbands lied about their ages because it was not chic to be older than one’s husband. In fact, many women went to their graves with the secret of how old they actually were, leaving families confused about birth certificates that just didn’t add up to the age on a deceased female family member’s tombstone. So, you’re not alone in not being truthful about your age. However, many men and women don’t feel that what was once chic dishonesty has any place in today’s world of dating where meeting on the internet, or through dating services or via a friend of a friend of a friend leaves many unanswered questions about who someone really is. Anyone who’s had bad luck dating online, will know that one person’s self description of “svelte” is another’s description of “loves Dunkin’ Donuts a little bit too much”. Or “athletic” as a body type for one person, means, “once drove by a gym” to another. One person’s honesty is another’s fiction. And this guy you lied to about your age may be wondering what else you didn’t tell the truth about. Rather than ask what you’re eating because you look so amazing that you actually passed for almost a decade younger than your 39 years for the three months you were dating, he decided to go to a darker place and wonder what else you were not truthful about. I’m sure that running through his head were questions like, “Is she really single? Or is there a husband hiding in the bushes ready to jump out and kill me with a machete?” And while this may seem far-fetched to you, he’s got his own experience with dating, and I guarantee you that his mistrust and deep hurt over your fibbing about your age came from his own personal experiences.
Consider that his cutting off the relationship just like that, because he found out you lied about your age, as a warning shot that he was possibly going to act in the same rash fashion over other things in the future that were more important than your age or having dated someone for three months. I know you think he was amazing, but reconsider that the two of you were still getting to know each other, and while he discovered your real age, you discovered how he reacts when things aren’t always what they seem. What would he do if he found out you’re not a real blonde? Or if you had cosmetic surgery and your breasts or your nose are not exactly what your children together might be born with? You may have just dodged a bullet by finding out about his reactive nature early on in the dating process.
That said, if a man wants to date and marry a woman with whom he can have a couple of kids, your age absolutely matters, and he feels like you wasted his time and played with his heart by not being honest about your age and your ability to have kids. For that reason alone, you shouldn’t lie about your age — or at the very least, instead of shaving off close to a decade, try just a couple of years, knowing that some men want a woman who’s a certain age, just like some women want a man who’s a certain age or a certain race or who practices a certain religion, it’s entirely fair game for a guy to want a younger woman. So, while you may think you’re fabulous at almost 40, inversely, he may feel duped because he really wanted a 30 year old. Rather than teach a guy a lesson about ageism, respect his need to date someone of a certain age. And, if you’re finding that you really like someone, rather than risk having him uncover your secret, spring it on them yourself. They’ll think you’re a lot more honest if you reveal a lie about your age, yourself, than if they figure it out themselves.
Money or Love?
I am in my late 30’s, divorced with 2 children. I am independent, own my own house, car and pay all my bills alone. I am a professional and have a great career. My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for 2 years now. He also has 2 children of his own that he supports. He is wonderful; he helps me with the kids, in the house and overall is always working on our relationship to make it better. I trust him, I know he loves and cares for me tremendously. My issue is this; he does not make a lot of money. He works hard and lots of over time but in his career path, he will never make a high salary. This is what he chooses and is comfortable there. I have encouraged him to go to school and do more for himself but he is comfortable basically being broke.
In the last few months, he has been living with me. He helps out a lot and he has always given me money for groceries, but it is not a lot. I think we should spilt the bills or at least close to it. My household bills are $3,000 a month, but I am lucky if I will see $300 to $400 a month from him. I don’t feel like this is fair and it bothers me. When I talk to him about it, he says he has been working so hard and trying for more overtime to give me more and wants to give me more but I know he just can’t do it.
In addition, since he does not have a lot we usually can’t go to places I like such as vacations, theater, weekend trips, etc. I plan trips myself and go places with my kids and my family so I don’t feel like I am losing out on the things I have come accustomed to but he can’t afford to come. There are so many things that are perfect in our relationship but the money is a big issue for me. He wants to get married and I don’t because if so, then he can have half of my house that I worked long and hard to get after my divorce. What do you think? Is money such a big deal to break up this relationship?
Money or Love?
Dear Money or Love,
Time for some brutal honesty. In every relationship there are deal breakers. Sometimes they’re simple, like no violence or no addiction, and when a man crosses these lines, it’s very clear that the relationship is a no go. But when a man has some wonderful qualities, and basically “passes” as a person who could be Mr. Right, it’s a lot harder to let go when a deal breaker that’s important to you, but isn’t as obvious as physical abuse or gambling, rears it’s head, slowly but surely.
So, what’s a deal breaker? A man can be wonderful, but not want to raise your children the same religion that you do — for some people that’s a deal breaker. A man can be very wealthy, but bad in bed, and that’s a deal breaker for some. A man can be fantastic, but he has children and you don’t want children. That can be a deal breaker. Knowing your deal breakers in advance of dating, and being true to yourself by not dating anyone who possesses these deal breakers will help you avoid these difficult situations, but some women — even very successful women like yourself — don’t know their deal breakers going into dating either because they haven’t really thought about them, or else they didn’t realize that they had them. Well, now you do. You want a man who has a certain type of career that generates an income that fits the lifestyle you’ve already established. There! I’ve said it, and it must be a relief to you to have someone else say it. Get over the guilt about who you are and what you want. Nobody here is passing any judgment on you. In fact many men don’t want to marry women who don’t have a certain income, a certain body type or a certain religion — and there’s nothing wrong with that! The worst thing you can do is to be dishonest…. which is what you’ve been doing.
You’ve let things go too far, by having him move in with you, when he’s got a deal breaking quality. Now, you’re getting annoyed because you want him to split expenses with you, and he’s not doing it because he won’t and/or he can’t. While you’re expressing your annoyance and working around him, you’re holding a grudge. If you don’t address this issue head on, you’re either going to complain to him and behind his back so much, that you’ll create the kind of drama that breaks up a relationship, or you’re going to be passive aggressive, and subsequently miserable, and so will he. All the things you like about him will fade into the background and this problem will loom in the forefront. This is a deal breaker, the same way someone who doesn’t want kids can be a deal breaker for someone who does, or the way someone who won’t marry a single parent is for someone who is a single parent. Don’t feel guilty — just do what’s right for you, because in the long run, it will be right for him, too.
I’m not against commitments, and have had proper relationships, but because of how my life is at the moment I felt that a casual relationship would suit me. I’m very busy and have a lot of responsibilities. So, I connected with someone on a dating website who apparently wants the same thing as me and we started seeing each other. He was pressuring me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with so I stopped contact for a while, but couldn’t stay. The sex was hot, in spite of the discomfort. So, I went back to him. He says he wants me to do things to prove I want him and he asks to meet up on a certain day and if I can’t, he seems to get annoyed and won’t meet on an alternative suggested by me. I wish I didn’t have this feeling of wanting, needing him.
Dear Fifty Shades:
I think you’re confusing a relationship that’s more about sex, with a hook up. You both want a relationship, not a hook up, and the fact that sex is the main event has confused you. The reality is that even a Fifty Shades relationship requires compatibility! Hook ups, less so. Whenever you have a relationship — whether it’s a friendship, a romance or a casual sex relationship, it’s got aspects of a relationship that require the same dynamics as other relationships in your life. You’re looking for compatibility here, and it sounds like there are some things about him that you like, and others you don’t, and that has to do with the sex and the dynamics that aren’t primarily sexual in nature. In any relationship, compromise, deal making and knowing your deal breakers are all important. I suggest you know your deal breakers, which may be particular sex acts you love, and those you’re not comfortable with, and the things that annoy you but aren’t deal breakers, like his schedule — that maybe you can compromise on by agreeing to meet on those days, but only places you want to meet, or only every other month — you get the idea, I’m sure! And remember that some of the things you don’t like, like his control, are part of what makes the sex hot for you both, so think twice before eliminating something or putting it on your deal breaker list!
Extinguish the Ex
I’m in an 18 month relationship with this amazing guy, but something keeps bugging me — his ex. The girl he was dating before me for six months (it wasn’t a real relationship, more a have sex and hang out relationship) is everything you don’t want your boyfriend’s ex to be. She is funny, social, popular and beautiful. The fact that he still keeps in touch with her hurts me. He texts her every once in a while, talks to her at parties and it makes me jealous and insecure. I’ve talked to him about it and he said there is nothing to worry about. The next time we saw her he ignored her for my sake but I heard later on that he apologized to her about ignoring her and said he would never do it again and that I wouldn’t change that. Also he wanted to keep their conversations a secret because he didn’t want me to know because it would be unfair to me. I love him so much, but why does he feel the need to keep in touch?
Extinguish the Ex
Dear Extinguish the Ex:
Your boyfriend is in touch with his ex because he wants to be. And rather than telling him that it upsets you or that you’re insecure, you’ll do better with these two pieces of advice:
- Don’t make a big deal out of something that isn’t. If you create a problem where there is none, you’ll have done just that — created a problem. Clearly, he’s holding on to her for some reason, and if you start handing out ultimatums, you’re going to end up with more stress, and possibly a break up reason down the line. You may not like this, but telling him about it isn’t going to help your cause.
- Compete for his attention. Men will go where they feel good, and if he feels good when he’s with her, you can expect him to go there. So…. with that knowledge, make him feel good about being with you! Instead of turning into a mother with a bunch of rules where he can and can’t go and be, make it more enticing for him to be with you.
I’m 31, and married the love of my life in June after dating him for 2 years. He is a wonderful man I met three years ago at work. He works the day shift, and I work the night shift. He works all day and then goes hunting. He loves to hunt. He goes morning and night, and he never misses a day. I’m glad he has a hobby, but when I ask him to stay with me, he doesn’t. We never make love, and we used to all the time before we got married. I don’t know what to do. All I want is to be able to spend more time with him. I love him so much. Any advice?
Dear Lonely Heart,
In spite of all the jokes, it’s not normal to get married and stop having sex altogether. Especially since the two of you don’t have kids who can be obstacles to intimacy. This is a problem that is worth addressing and can be fixed pretty quickly if you’re willing to make some changes, yourself.
First of all, you have to give him something to want to stay home for. In other words, you have to be seductive and sexy. Familiarity is very common in marriages, and it combats excitement and seduction, so break the pattern and make things more exciting at home for him. There are lots of ways to do this. Personally, you can make sure you’re taking care of yourself by being in the mood, and setting the mood. Buy new lingerie, wear sexy clothing, and make your home a place that’s more conducive to having a romantic, sexual life together. Scented candles, a beautiful dinner, making him feel desired — these are all ways to get him more interested. Second, you have to give yourselves opportunities to have sex. It doesn’t always just happen when you’re very familiar with each other, which is a challenge in marriage.
My Fiancé Lost Interest
My fiancé and I have been together for six years. We own a house together and live together. But six months ago, I began having doubts about our long-term compatibility. See, I love discussing big issues: religion and politics. He can’t stand it. I’m deeply spiritual; he’s firmly agnostic. I crave affection; he doesn’t. Recently, the physical intimacy has completely ended. We never touch. Ever. He’s even mentioned twice that he’s no longer attracted to me, but he’s attracted to other people. I feel like we’ve become roommates or friends, instead of a couple. Breaking up would be messy. He’s a great guy; we share the same friends; our lives are so intertwined. I don’t want to mess up my life, but I’m so unhappy. Why isn’t he? Is this the life he wants? Is this normal?
My Fiancé Lost Interest
Dear My Fiancé,
Six years is a long time to be together to suddenly consider that the differences you mention, are possible deal breakers. I’m guessing that those differences were existent in years one, two, three and four of your relationship. And they were there when you bought a home together, and moved in together, and when he proposed to you and you accepted. The question is, why, at year five and a half, did you suddenly start thinking about the differences you’ve always had between you, as problems? The reality is that there isn’t anything black and white about the issues you’ve mentioned that have to be deal breakers. They can be parts of a healthy, happy relationship, or they can also be divisive deal breakers, too. It really depends on the couple.
It sounds like you’re mentioning these these differences as a defense to his pulling away from you, because that’s the only thing that’s new. And it’s a flashing red light that he’s looking outside the relationship — in spite of the house and the you’ve been together up to now. So the question is, do you want to try to win him over and get him back, or do you want to let go and move on?
If you want to win him over, there are lots of ways to get out of sexual slumps and romantic dry spells — which are all pretty normal parts of long term relationships. The reality is that dating, and even committed relationships, are competitive, and you can’t drop the ball and expect there to be no recourse. So if there’s anything you’re doing differently that’s contributed to his lack of interest, this is the moment to play your A game and win him back. Complacency is no longer an option. You have to take action, or have it taken against you. That said — if you’re really looking to leave because of these incompatibilities you mention, then the window of opportunity seems to be open. Ball’s in your court, play it or be played.
Online Dating Fiasco
I met a guy online. He is handsome and rough around the edges, kind of hostile, aggressive and almost demeaning in the way he spoke and expressed himself. He lives in Atlanta, I in Tampa. He told me to Google him, and I saw he is married, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and agreed to drive to meet him. He was even better looking in person, but he was intoxicated and he had on a wedding band, but insisted he was not married. We went to a hotel and had a sleep over sex date. He left in the morning, saying he would return to bring me something to eat. He never came back. I called him numerous times, and even drove by his business where we argued, and he refused to give me gas money. I finally drove home, and did some research. He was 13 years married with two kids. I called his wife, who said, ”I hope he used a condom or you get an AIDS test.” I freaked out. He finally told me to stop calling him, and his wife refused my FB request. I feel like such a fool. What happened?
Online Dating Fiasco
I think you need a couple of black and white ground rules. So, here they are:
- Do not have sex on the first date. Ever. Get to know the man first. I’m guessing you didn’t use protection. You should count yourself lucky to be alive. What happened to you was bad, but it could have been a lot worse. Use protection, always.
- If a guy is wearing a wedding band, he’s married. Don’t second guess.
- If you don’t pay attention to number two, for Pete’s sakes, don’t call his wife, or contact her on social media. Believe me, she knows everything. You’re not the first or last person to sleep with him outside his marriage. You’re mad at yourself, don’t take it out on her or others.
- Never drive out of state to meet a guy from the internet for a first date. If he’s not willing or able to come to you, to have a first date in a public place, find someone in your own area code to date.
These four rules will improve your life immensely!
Dating While Divorcing
So I’ve been talking with a guy for about 6 months. We are both in the process of divorce. His will be final in two months, mine in four. The divorces were in the works prior to us talking. So anyway, we have hooked up a few times early on, but for the last two months he won’t even meet me to hang out. I have made several attempts but he says it’s too risky. We both have kids in the mix (who happen to be friends), and are both fighting for civility in our divorces. That’s why he says being together at this point is too risky. I guess I’m confused at this point. Should I continue to pursue this relationship, or should I move on? He seems generally interested (we call/text daily) but he’s sending mixed signals about hanging out. Help! I don’t want to get caught up in another disappointing relationship.
Dating While Divorcing
Dear Dating While Divorcing,
Even though it may not seem like it, dating during divorce is the same thing as dating during marriage. Technically, you’re still married, and many people who are divorcing are actually living with their soon to be exes, thinking they’re in some limbo phase, when they’re really not. They’re married. And as much as they want to get through this next phase of divorce, jumping the gun doesn’t do the trick. Sometimes people start dating during a failing marriage so they can have some happiness or see the light at the end of the tunnel, because divorce can be quick, but it can also take years (and years). That’s why, while it may seem that he’s giving you mixed messages, you have to understand that when you start dating someone who is married, while you’re married — even if divorce proceedings are going forward — it’s a mixed-message situation for both of you. My advice is to get yourself out of the mindset that you’re single. If you’re divorcing, you’re married. If you’re divorced, you’re not.
Since you both have children, you may or may not realize that custody arrangements and child support can change at any moment when one party challenges the status quo. So, now that he’s two months away from being divorced, and “fighting” for civility, he’s probably trying to stabilize his family. Since your children are friends and your spouses probably know each other, there’s a lot at stake for him if his wife finds out about your dating him — or even just hanging out, with or without benefits. Many times spouse will take out their anger by raging on the custody arrangement and the child support agreement simply to exact revenge about an ex dating. It’s terrible — but it’s a reality. Once you accept this, I think it will be easier for you not to be confused as much as you are disappointed. Of course the other possibility is that he wasn’t that interested in you as anything more than a friend with benefits, which is what you see when there is hooking up instead of dating going on. It was probably convenient and fun because the two of you were going through the same thing at the same time, but now that he’s on the verge of being divorced, he wants to move on, and this is the excuse he’s giving you.
My advice is that you wait until you’re divorced to start dating. I don’t know how long you’ve been married, or rather, how long it’s been since you’ve started dating, but rule number one in dating is for you NOT to pursue the guy. This prevents confusion. It lets you know how interested he is or isn’t by his pursuit. If a guy isn’t pursuing you, he’s not interested. When you pursue him, it takes that opportunity for him to pursue, away from him — and the opportunity for you to have clarity, away from you. I know that you say that you call and text daily, but my advice here is to stop. Since you don’t want to be in a “crappy relationship” don’t get involved with a guy who’s married, telling you that dating you is too risky, and is going to be stabilizing a new divorce. You wrote that you’re going to be married for about four more months — so use that time to figure out what went wrong in your marriage, and how you can really use this new opportunity of being single again, to do better yourself, and your kids.
How Do I Get A Commitment
I’m a middle aged single mother, and I went on a date with a man, who was a perfect gentleman. On the second date, we ended up sleeping together, which is not something I normally do with any guy, in fact up until this point I had not had sex in over ten years. A couple more dates passed, and I brought up exclusivity. He said he was not ready for a relationship because his divorce scarred him. I continued to date him but missed my period, and although I had my tubes tied years ago, that failed, and I am PREGNANT. I told him and he was excited about the baby, so at about 10 weeks pregnant I brought up exclusivity again, and it turns out he’s sleeping with another woman as well as me. I immediately told him he needs to end it, and do the right thing for our baby’s sake. He was understanding but he does not want a monogamous relationship with anyone. He is still dating me, and when we are together it’s amazing, but he’s not getting rid of his online dating profile or other women. What can I do to get him to commit?
How Do I Get A Commitment
Dear How Do I Get A Commitment,
When a guy tells you that he is not interested in a committed relationship — believe him! Don’t try to change him, or think that if he just spends more time with you, you’ll be able to turn him around. If you want a commitment and the guy tells you early on, he doesn’t, my advice is always to move on. However….this boat has left the dock! I know that you’re disappointed and frustrated, but the reality is that you both want different things. You’re trying to sway him to your side, and it’s not working, so you’re really upset — the pregnancy has upped the stakes.
It’s unfortunate that you had your tubes tied and then got pregnant in spite of the prior procedure. I hope you’ve talked to your physician, about what’s transpired. But in terms of your relationship with this guy, your question about how you get him to commit is a little complicated. Normally, I’d tell you to buy Think & Date Like A Man, http://askapril.com/relationship-dating-advice/think-and-date-like-a-man.html, so you can understand in detail how to find, get and keep a guy. But since you’re pregnant with his child, prior to there being a commitment, you’ve got a much more difficult road ahead. You’re going to have to compete for him, knowing that he’s single and dating and you’re pregnant with his child. This may be distasteful to you, but if you still want him, that’s my call. In addition, instead of trying to get him to see things through your eyes, try to see things through his eyes. That may actually turn things around. Right now, he sees you as trying to trap him. And if you can accept that, and show him empathy for his part in this surprise pregnancy, he may become more empathetic and maybe even want give it a try. You see, if the two of you are locked on opposite sides of a battle, this will go nowhere good. You have to try and seduce him into seeing you as the woman he wants, not insisting to him that you be that person. Change your perspective and your attitude and give it your best shot.
I’m Dating Mr. Complacency
I’ve been dating this guy for about six months now, and we’ve been sleeping together for the last three months. He never initiates anything – dates, sex (he blames his age, 47), dinner with him and his daughter – but always seems interested when I initiate it. He also never gives me compliments on anything really, nor does he ever tell me how much he enjoys spending time with me. But he has no problem with introducing me to his family, he pays for lunch every day at work, and has talked about going on vacation in the future all together with his daughter and my two kids. He also rarely expresses interest in my day, or how something went (like Thanksgiving), or my plans for the weekend unless I tell them to him. I’ve even tried to lead him into asking me by asking him first. It’s like a sack of mixed messages, and I’m not sure what to do. I’ve expressed to him explicitly before that I want him to initiate get togethers sometimes, and he still hasn’t. I know for a fact he isn’t seeing anyone else. Just the relationship thus far has felt very one way as far as action goes. I really want this relationship to work, but geez, what to do, what to do?
I’m Dating Mr. Complacency
Dear I’m Dating Mr. Complacency,
It will be better for you if you stop trying to make this work, and change your perspective and your outlook to see IF it will work — there’s a big difference between trying to force something and sitting back to see what it is. If a guy doesn’t ask you out, but is happy to go on dates you initiate, it’s unfair for you to expect him to change his behavior. He’s showing you who he is.
How about trying something different? Like….instead of asking him to change the way he does things, you change the way you do things. If he doesn’t initiate and you do, then you can consider stopping the initiating. If you do stop initiating dates, and he doesn’t ask you out, then simply don’t ask him out or show up to make it easy to be together. You’ll get to see how long it takes for him to miss you and want to see you enough to date you, or you’ll get to see that he’s not really into making any changes in his life — unless you lead. But if you don’t give him the chance, you won’t know! Likewise, if he doesn’t compliment you, then consider that he doesn’t appreciate things about you. But give him that chance.
It sounds like he may be showing you his true colors, and you’re trying to get him to change, and complaining that you’re doing what you’re doing, and not getting the outcome you want. So give it a rest, and see if he misses you enough to call you, compliment you, invite you out to dinner or on some other type of date. If he does, and you don’t make it so easy for him to see you, so that he has to do the work, you may have solved your problem! And if not you’ve always got the option of deciding he’s not really what you’re looking for, in spite of some qualities you do like, there are enough that don’t work for you, that it might just be better to move on. But you won’t know unless you give it a rest and see who he really is, when you don’t make the dates! You’ll either be very pleasantly surprised, or you’ll decide this isn’t for you. Either one is going to be educational and it will help you feel more comfortable.
’ve been married for 5 years, together for 10, and when my husband got a job promotion, I quit my job to be home with the kids, since what I made literally just paid the sitter. But now, he works 7 am to 10 pm everyday except for one day a week — in which he sleeps. Even when he isn’t scheduled to work those hours he works them because he doesn’t want everything to fall apart in his department. He complains he misses me and the kids but when is home and not sleeping he is talking about work or talking to employees on the phone. He ignores me until we get to bed, no matter how tired he says he is, he is all over me. I feel like I am here to pleasure him just so he can get through the next day and make him food. I have had to go through 3 birthday parties, 1 wedding, 2 family get togethers for his family 1 death on my side and a miscarriage in the 3 months since this started ALONE. I feel like a single mother right now. My poor son just wants to learn how to play baseball but his dad is never home. My daughter bawls every morning when he leaves. I want so badly to support him but I can’t sit back and keep telling the kids why they don’t see their dad. I don’t want to lose him Help!
Dear Relationship Stalled,
You have to look at the problem differently in order to find a solution. Your facts are straight, but it sounds like you’re stuck in a rut. Here are some ways to get out of it:
- 1. Decide to be grateful that you have a husband who is working so hard to support your family. Do whatever it takes to support the family, yourself. This may sound like a foreign language to you because you’re very committed to your current mindset, but the reality is that you decided to marry and have children (I’m not sure how many you have, but the miscarriage implies you’re still looking to have more). And that means you have a different marriage dynamic than if it’s just the two of you. Accept responsibility for your choices, and adjust your attitude. Then communicate it — to everyone!
- Downsize. Many times, families stuck in a rut where their finances are dictating their relationships, don’t realize that they can move to a cheaper town or state, or take jobs that are less “sexy” and more lucrative. Kids can share bedrooms. Expensive childcare can be replaced with coop babysitting in the neighborhood, relatives as babysitters, or Boys and Girls Club type childcare that is not glamorous, but is worthwhile for many people. Look at where you spend money, and reduce where you can, to take the pressure off. This is a financial attitude adjustment. Do you really need what you’re spending on? Really??
- Move closer to relatives, or consider moving a relative into your home so that you can work without paying for childcare that made your work obsolete, financially. Sometimes the relationship dynamics won’t work with grandma in the next room, but sometimes they do work. This is a family attitude adjustment. You may think your kids need a certain caliber of support, but the stress they’re absorbing from your providing it, cancels out the benefits. Child-rearing attitude adjustment, necessary!
- Consider that you may be having an identity crisis of sorts, having quit your job to become a full time, stay at home mom. This is a bigger deal than you may realize, and if you nourish yourself — whether it’s with exercise, friendships that support this transition, or finding more interesting things to do at home, including home businesses, or community work (volunteer or paid), you may feel better about yourself, the marriage, your husband and your family. Look in the mirror and decide who you want to see, then adjust…
I met up with an old flame from years ago. We’re both in our 40s. He was reeling from a break-up, I was getting over a divorce and it was just so nice to see an old friend that was “safe” and I had history with. Since we were long distance (NY/Dallas) we both assumed this was just a friendship and have both been dating other people. As time went by we started seeing each other every 6 weeks. I met his kids, parents, we went on vacations together. I think he liked me more than a friend but given the way we met and that he was “recovering” I never let the idea enter my mind for very long that this was just 2 people who really liked each other and “escaped” together. And yes, we had “benefits” with the friendship.
Six months later, I was in love with him. I started feeling jealousy. I started getting scared I’d never see him again. I have not articulated any of this to him, but my behavior has been erratic. I tend to push him away because I don’t know how to deal with my feelings. Every time I push away, he tells me he is hurt, but at the same time, he’s stopped making any real effort to see me. My frustration is growing deeper. This is disrupting my life and my concentration on things that matter. Do I tell him on the phone how I feel and just ask him not to call or text any more so I can move on? What is the right thing to do here?
Dear LDR Limbo,
First of all, you have to grasp an understanding of what friendship is, and what dating is. Friendship does not involve sex. You don’t have sex with your friends. Sex is what lovers do. Granted, you can have a one night stand with someone who’s less a lover than a hit and run — but he’s still not your friend. Men and women can’t be friends because one person always wants more than the other, and this is not the dynamic of friendship. If you can accept that, you’ll have an easier time with relationships.
Next, understand that you were a rebound relationship, since he was “reeling from a break up” when the two of you began dating — even as so called “friends”. That doesn’t mean things can’t work out in the long run, but it is a different situation than if he was clear that he wanted to find a woman to marry. When you fall into things and aren’t conscious of what you’re doing, or simply default to what’s easiest, you can have a great short term relationship, but often, find yourself uncomfortable or unhappy in the long term. That’s what’s happening now.
Typically, I suggest the following time frame for dating: Spend the first three months deciding if you want to continue seeing each other. Spend the second three months deciding if you want to be monogamous. If after six months of dating, you want to be monogamous, but he doesn’t, you should move on — if you’re looking for Mr. Right (a long term, committed relationship).
It sounds like you’ve a) stayed longer than you should have, with a guy who doesn’t have the same relationship goals you do and b) weren’t focused on a goal for yourself. My advice is not to tell him how you feel, but show him, by not going to visit him any more, and at the same time, dialing up your flirtation, and teasing him into the next level, so that if you can be boyfriend and girlfriend, and possibly more, you will. I know that this is a shift, and he may not take the bait, but you basically need to get him to chase you. It’s harder to do this mid-stream, than if you start out with this strategy. What you’ve been doing is making it too easy for him to be with you, which at the same time, made it harder for you to see his intentions. If he does chase after you, then that’s good. If he doesn’t, then you’ll know that this was convenient for him, but not something he’s serious about, and while disappointing, the clarity will allow you to move on.
Bride of a Blended Family
I am getting married for the first time to a man who’s already had one wedding and three kids. I have one son who is eleven. The wedding is going to be small (under 50 guests) and set to a rustic wooded scene at my family’s home. The one catch is I’m having a hard time with my future husband’s choice of best man – his 16 yr old autistic son, who is prone to public and embarrassing meltdowns. I don’t want to be insensitive, but his son has not shown the support of our relationship or maturity to hold the role of best man in my opinion. I feel that his son is using the position as a way to manipulate his father. The son has screamed that we shouldn’t get married and told his father he would never be his best man and threatened to run away. All of a sudden he has changed his mind and told his dad he is ready to be a man and looks at it as some sort of initiation to manhood.
I’m afraid this is a reward for bad behavior for all the negative feelings made well known. Also, frankly, I don’t want someone that doesn’t support and love my future husband unconditionally standing at the front to witness our union. As a first time bride how should I address this? I don’t care if the flowers aren’t perfect, but those that stand by the side of my husband and I matter a great deal.
Bride of a Blended Family
Dear Bride of a Blended Family,
First of all blending families is tough, and planning a wedding with a blended family is very tough. What you think is reasonable becomes moot. It’s very easy to compare your son with his kids, but the reality is that teenagers are very different than 11 year olds or adults. They don’t act reasonable on a good day, let alone a bad day — and then you’ve got the autism spectrum tossed in. So, while you feel his 16 year old son hasn’t been supportive of your marriage, understand that that is normal. From the kids’ points of view there’s all kinds of betrayals going on here because their father is marrying someone who isn’t their mother and is going to co-parent a new sibling (your son), which creates sibling rivalry in a new way. I know that you probably haven’t seen it that way, but if you look at it from the kid’s’ points of view, you might have some insight into their disappointment that their father is remarrying. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the fact that their parents divorced. In other words, this type of behavior comes with the territory. I know you want your husband’s best man to be unconditionally supportive, but that’s asking too much of a teenager who’s parents divorced. It’s the parent’s job to be unconditionally supportive — not the child’s — even if the child is a teenager. If you lower your bar on what you can expect from his kids, you’ll be a lot less disappointed because you’ll expect less.
I know this is your first wedding, even though you have a child from a prior relationship, and you want it to be special, but if you’re including the kids, you have to relax your views of what the wedding will really be like. So here are some options: Since your fiancé’s other two children are boycotting the wedding, giving his son the best man position will better insure that at least one of his kids will show up. This is important to your fiancé, and if you can deal with it, I think this is one you should let go and breathe through. The small group of guests probably already know your future step-son’s temperament, so if he has an outburst, it will fall on sympathetic ears. After all, he’s part of the family now. As for your son getting the wrong message by this potential reward for bad behavior, you can turn it around and create a teaching moment. Explain the autistic component to your son, and explain how important it is for your fiancé to have his son participate in the wedding because his other two children will not be there. You can tell him that not all divorced families get along as well as others, and that that’s kind of normal. Your son is going to have to grow up a little faster and a little more differently than if he was not part of a blended family. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a difference from what you’re used to. If you want to give your son a special part in the wedding so things are more balanced, that’s fine, too. It sounds like not including children at all is going to create more drama, now that your fiancé and his son want his son to be in the wedding. Your question about wanting veto power over his best man, since you ran your maid of honor by him, is really just your way of wanting some control over the wedding, and instead of having him run things by you, it would be more productive to open conversations about this issue, rather than getting into power plays over it.
Remember that in blended family marriages, the divorce rate is higher than in first marriages where there are no kids to start off, because the dynamics between the children and the parents (even with adult children) is complicated. This is a perfect place for you to start off your marriage letting him know that you love him, and it’s not your first choice, but you want to do what he wants because it’s important to him. In other words, give him this gift of letting his difficult son be in the wedding, because the son is a teenager and is conflicted.
Keep your eye on the ball, which is balancing the dynamics and not sweating the small stuff. I hope that helps.
Commitment Ceremony Didn’t Do it for Me
I’ve been in a 4-year relationship. We love each other very much however there are some barriers that are preventing us from moving forward. He is still legally married although they’ve been separated 15 years. His ex lives on the same street with the kids, ages 18 & 20. The younger one is self-sufficient, but the 20 year old dropped out of high school due to severe anxiety. He’s never had a job and is reliant on his parents. He sleeps all day. The ex-wife used to be included in our family get together’s , but I put a stop to it last year. He still supports her and the kids financially. I do not like this, but try to understand.
Last year I ended things, but he said let’s get married. We set date and sent out invitations, but his divorce wasn’t finalized so we had a commitment ceremony. A month later his son came to stay for 5 weeks ignoring me, etc. This created major issues. I moved out to help my 19 year old son, but my boyfriend and I saw each other on weekends. Now, my son is on his own, and my lease is up end of April and I am ready to continue to move forward, but he STILL hasn’t finalized his divorce. Help!
Commitment Ceremony Didn’t Do it for Me
Dear Commitment Ceremony Didn’t Do it for Me,
This is pretty simple: In spite of your commitment ceremony with this man, he’s still married to the woman you refer to as his ex-wife. And he’s had more than enough time to get divorced, but I’m sure it’s become clear to you that he doesn’t want to be. The fact that his wife lives down the street, and he’s still supporting her and their adult children, should be a big clue that he’s not ready to let go — even though it would be great if he stopped enabling all of them. It’s really not that hard to get divorced, especially when the children are not no longer kids, but legal adults. It may have seemed like he was divorced because he has his own home, separate from his wife’s, but he’s not, and your discomfort is valid.
The way you can help yourself out of this predicament is to stop considering the problem here to be him and his son and his wife, and instead, ask yourself why you would have a commitment ceremony with a man who is married to a woman he supports, down the road. My guess is that the commitment ceremony helps you feel like you have a relationship with him that is separate and special from his marriage to his wife. The reality is that he’s trying to keep both of you in the game, and so far, you’re both staying. The commitment ceremony may have made you feel a little better for the time being, but you want more, and he’s not budging.
My advice is that you decide what it is you want and then go for it, in other words, if you want to remarry, then find someone who’s single and is very clear about wanting to remarry. However, if you decide that what you really want is him, then accept that he’s married and his wife and kids are going to be part of your life, probably the same way they have been over the four years you’ve dated. In other words, don’t stay with him and expect him to change. If you want something to change, look to yourself for that.
I hope that helps.
Tracking My Cellphone
My boyfriend and I started dating about eight months ago. At that time I was separated from my husband and he had a girlfriend for about 10 years. I divorced my husband so that I can be with this man. We started sleeping together at the workplace after he gave me some advice about a difficult situation. I gave him permission to install a cell phone monitoring device to track everything on my phone so he can learn to trust me. Since we have been together I have messed up with a few things by lying about some serious stuff. On the other hand, he still loves his girlfriend while he’s dating me and I want him to make a decision. He keeps telling me how much he loves me and that we have a magical connection and he also wants to date for a little while before he gets married. How can I get him to trust me and leave his girlfriend once and for all for me?
Tracking My Cellphone
Dear Tracking My Cellphone,
You’re frustrated because you want your boyfriend to be someone he isn’t and never was, and you’ve invested eight months in this relationship, and aren’t seeing the payoff you were hoping for with him. Many times women write to me, and say they’re confused in a relationship or they’re confused by a man’s behavior, but they’re not really confused. What they are is disappointed. Sometimes it takes a while for them to realize that it’s not confusion, but instead, disappointment they’re feeling — and they work very hard to try to convince themselves that it’s confusion. The reason they avoid disappointment is because once they realize their disappointment, they have to face reality. I think it’s time for you to do that.
Looking back, it was an odd call for you to give him permission to install a tracking and monitoring device on your phone. That’s not normal in adult relationships. And when you have the kind of mistrust that requires tracking, you’re starting off a relationship with big problems. This isn’t what adults do with each other. It’s what parents do with teenagers that they don’t trust, and are responsible for. It’s what the criminal system does with parolees they don’t trust, and are responsible for. By allowing him this tracking device, you established and enabled a relationship based on dysfunction. Not a great first step for a normal, healthy, trusting relationship.
The other issue I think you haven’t faced, is that he’s got a ten year girlfriend he’s still dating, even eight months after seeing you, too. I know he tells you he loves you, but his behavior is the real key her. Men will say what they need to say to keep you in the game if they want you in the game. And he does. He just doesn’t want just you. Instead of asking him to decide to pick one of you, why don’t you decide to move on, if you want monogamy, because it sure doesn’t seem like that’s where this is heading.
It’s time for you to wake up and smell the coffee — this isn’t about him or his decisions. It’s about you. If you want a man to be committed and monogamous and trusting, then you have to choose someone with those characteristics, and be someone who attracts that type of person. And if you want monogamy, date a guy who’s single and wants the same type of monogamy that you do. He will never be the person you want him to be. He is who he is, and you should consider facing that fact instead of pretending to be confused when he doesn’t do what you want him to. That will just lead to more and deeper frustration and disappointment. This is like buying a Fiat and hoping it will become a Range Rover. You can buy it Range Rover tires, and park it in an oversized vehicle spot, but it’s still going to be a Fiat, and the more you hope it will be an oversized vehicle, the more frustrated you will get. He’s not the guy you want him to be. Never was. Never will be. This is all about your choices.
Dated A Younger Man
I’m 44, have been divorced 3 years and have 2 young boys. I met a man from work who is over 10 years younger than me. We were drunk at a sales meeting — we’ve had the most insanely awesome time together, every minute we were together. I’ve NEVER had the sexual chemistry I have with him in my entire life! It’s super intense, constant and incredible! BUT he never comes around when my children are here and is somewhat of a loner. We’ve recently decided to wean ourselves away from each other and I know this is best since duh, he has’t accepted me as a mother but I can’t shake the feeling that our chemistry is once in a lifetime. The other dilemma is having to see him every day at work and I still want him. Ugh, please send words of strength and advice!
Dated A Younger Man
Dear Dated A Younger Man,
So, you’re 44 and he’s 34 — I don’t see the problem with the age. You’re divorced. He’s single. Am I missing something here? Okay, so you met him at work, but that’s not a negative. It makes perfect sense that people meet at work — especially singles! You probably spend more time in your office than you do asleep in your bed at night! And since you’re a single mother, you have less time to find people to date, than singles without kids. So get over the idea that dating someone at work is a bad thing. As long as it doesn’t interfere with your work, and there aren’t work favors being exchanged for sexual or social ones, and you tend to keep the relationship on the down low, rather than flaunt it by making out at the water cooler, I’m not opposed to office romance.
The reason that he never comes around when your children are around is because he doesn’t want the responsibility and the commitment of having more than a romantic, sexual relationship. But…. that could be because it’s too soon in the relationship for this to be comfortable for him. If he’s never been married or had kids, he may see your children, and meeting them, as more of a landmark than you do. It’s a great idea to be prudent about introducing people you’re dating to young kids. They shouldn’t have to go through your dating ups and downs, and your home shouldn’t have a revolving door of dates, so I don’t think it’s wrong for him to not want to meet your kids just yet.
The thing that’s important here is for you to focus on what you want. If you’re looking for a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship, then you should focus on that. But if you’re simply looking for fun and sex, that’s okay, too — just don’t confuse your goals with one another. If you can be okay with his moving slowly towards a longterm goal, or not having that goal at all, you should enjoy the opportunity to be a 44 year old divorced woman who’s holding a great job, doing a great job with her kids, taking care of her body, and enjoying a healthy sex life with an interesting guy who has some great qualities. Just decide what you want and be conscious of your decisions.
Cheated and Lost Him
I was married for 23 years, and have been divorced for 3 years. Even though I cheated on him throughout our marriage, we stayed friends. In fact, we got along better divorced than we did married! About a year after we divorced, we tried getting back together. I moved back into the house, but still wanted to buy a house of my own. So last summer, I started looking and told him it wasn’t that I wanted to end our relationship, I didn’t want to just live with someone for the rest of my life. I wanted marriage again, and since he wasn’t sure, I was house hunting. He said we had trust issues, so I tried to insure that he knew what I was doing, until I went to ball game with one of my army buddies and his kids. I had a blast. A few weeks later I went out with that same guy and a mutual friend and I didn’t invite my ex. Long story short, I cheated again while we were dating and living under the same roof. I bought the house and moved, but I’m still seeing both men. Over Christmas, my ex and I went on a vacation and had a blast. He pressured me to choose between him and the other guy, and I couldn’t, so, my ex moved on. He is seeing someone else now, and I am mourning the loss of the relationship, even though it was entirely my fault that it ended. I wish I could go back and make different choices. Is it ok to maintain a friendship with him, and once I do more work on myself, how can I show him I have changed?
Cheated and Lost Him
Dear Cheated and Lost Him,
It’s not a good idea to maintain a friendship with an ex for a couple of reasons. First of all, you’re not really friends — you’re two exes with a very intense shared past. Second, the truth is, it’s not friendship you really want. It’s a reconciliation and another shot at the relationship. Friendships are honest relationships and what you want isn’t honest. It’s a friendship so you can leverage the time together into something else. And remember, friends don’t have sex with each other, and the two of you have — both in and out of marriage. This isn’t a great platform for friendship, especially since if you’re friends with him, you’d also, presumably have to see his girlfriend, and that’s going to be awkward at best. In addition, if you’re friends, you’re going to be in each others’ lives and it’s going to be a lot harder to move on. He’s trying to make a go of it with someone new, and he’s happy. It would be a good idea for you to do the same. Not seeing each other will make it easier to do so. So, no, I would advise against trying to stay in contact with your ex, and being his friend. Besides, you’ve already tried it, and you can see it didn’t work. If you have children together you should be civil and co-parent, but because of the history you have together, there’s no place for friendship between the two of you now.
As for doing work on yourself, I think that’s a great idea, but you should do the work on yourself because you want to be a better person — not because you want to impress your ex-husband or because you want to show him you’ve changed to try and get him back. You’ve already been there, and he feels like he’s given it more than a fair shot, and has moved on with someone else. Your history of cheating is something you’ll probably want to take a look at in order to not repeat it. That will serve you well in future relationships. I believe that you can be whomever you want to be, and you can make whatever changes you’d like to make. So if you don’t want to cheat, you can commit to that value and live by it. It will be hard work, but do the work because it’s the right thing to do, and allow yourself to move on, as he has.
Made A Big Mistake
I’ve known this guy since we were teenagers, and he was always the “nice guy” and that turned me off. I got married to someone else and had three daughters, and when we divorced, he and I started dating. We were together for eight and a half months when I did the unthinkable. I put my hands on him, multiple times out of jealousy. Stupid because I truly love him. Since the incident, two months ago, he hasn’t not spoken to me AT ALL. The only correspondence was two days afterward and he sent me a text that said:
“You have problems not only have you assumed and accused me and told me how I feel you put your hands on me. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You will be getting served soon. You need help and right now nothing I say or do matters. You need to stay away from me. It hurts me so bad right now that I will never see your daughters again but for peace in my life I have no choice. You made it this way, I shouldn’t even be responding to you.”
I really want him back and even started counseling immediately to help myself and potentially our relationship. Do we have a chance?! Should I give up?! Like a fool, I have continuously attempted to apologize by texting and writing letters. He ignores all of it.
Made A Big Mistake
Dear Made A Big Mistake,
You were violent and your boyfriend left. For many people reading, this will seem unusual because domestic violence is usually a situation where a man strikes a woman, but there are many, many cases like yours where a woman strikes a man. It’s good that you’re honest about what happened, and that you are getting help with your situation, and it’s important that you continue to be honest about things — what sets you off, why you resort to violence, and if you’ve ever done this before and why. Honesty is a big step towards recovery and healing.
In many cases of domestic violence the perpetrator has been acted on herself, at some time in her past. In other words, this may be learned behavior on your part. If you can think back and reconsider your family history, you may find clues as to where you learned to resort to violence, and why. It’s very important, because you have children, to change your behavior so that they don’t learn the bad habits that you did.
I know you want your ex-boyfriend back, but domestic violence is a deal breaker in any relationship. And part of healing is to realize what you lose when you hit someone. My advice is to accept the loss and instead, to focus on your personal health. I’m sure that he still has feelings for you — lots of people in relationships where there is domestic violence still love each other — but they don’t want to be with someone who is violent because it’s an incompatibility and it’s a problem that you have to take care of, alone. Luckily, his healthy behavior in walking away from the relationship may actually be a catalyst for your road to recovery. There are reasons we all make changes in behavior, and if you realize that you’ve lost a good man because of your violence, this may be what causes you to stop once and for all.
I need help making a decision about a guy I’m dating. We met online. After a couple of months he declared that he wanted to be exclusive. I agreed. I obviously put my online account on the back burner . So when I happen to see my boyfriend still active online and chatting I asked him about it. He said, Yes, I’m dating you — but how will I know if “the one” is out there if I’m not looking? And he said, This is real life. My response was that this is the whole point of dating. The reason you date exclusively is to see if this person is The One. My take is that he wants all the goodies of dating while he’s looking around. I’m no dummy. What do you think?
Dear Exclusive Dater,
I’ve got to disagree with you. While it was wrong for him to tell you he wanted you to be exclusive to him, all the while he was playing the field, the whole point of dating if you want a committed, long term relationship, is to really play the field, get to know men, and then decide if someone is a guy you want to be exclusive with, not the other way around. If you’re exclusive too quickly, you’ve taken yourself off the market, thereby closing yourself off to opportunities, and made a commitment to someone you don’t know that well, so that it doesn’t work out, there’s more drama in a break up than if you’d been dating casually while getting to know each other. It also gives you a serial monogamy experience, and if things don’t work out time and again, you’re going to feel the weigh of failure more quickly than if you’re playing the field until you’re both ready to commit.
My general rule of thumb is to spend the first three months dating someone to figure out if he’s someone you want to continue dating. You have to know your own deal breakers, as well as what you have to offer, and try to find out his, as well. You can meet an amazing man, but if you’re not compatible, and your deal breakers don’t line up, you’re not a good match. Time really does help you get to know people if you’re dating smart. And if, after three months of dating each other, you’re both still interested and want to continue dating, you should spend the next three months dating, deciding if you want to be monogamous or not. I know that sounds like a long time, but if you think about it, six months is a really good amount of time to get to know someone. It’s only at the six month point, if you agree to be mutually monogamous, that there’s any type of commitment. This set of guidelines goes for both men and women, and I think it’s the most productive way to really focus on finding Mr. or Ms. Right.